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How Jordan handled fuming crisis over cigarettes

AMMAN, Jordan —Mohammad Ersan – Precarious calm reigned over the city of Ramtha, 100 kilometers (62 miles) north of Amman, after three days of riots during which security officers were shot at. The riots came in response to a Cabinet decision Aug. 23 to limit the number of cigarettes that travelers are allowed to carry through …

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Syria Kurds say fighters start pullback from Turkish border

QAMISHLI, Syria — The Kurdish authorities in northeast Syria said Tuesday their forces had started to withdraw from outposts along the Turkish border after a US-Turkish deal for a buffer zone there. They said work had begun Saturday on “the first practical steps — in the Ras Al Ain area …

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Sudan to name first post-Bashir Cabinet

KHARTOUM — After months of unrest, Sudan’s newly-appointed prime minister is due on Wednesday to announce a Cabinet that will be the first since veteran ruler Omar Al Bashir was deposed more than four months ago. Premier Abdalla Hamdok is set to name his key picks from a field put …

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Yemen forces say they retake Aden from southern separatists

ADEN — Yemen government forces reclaimed the interim capital Aden and its presidential palace on Wednesday, a minister said, pushing back separatists who seized the city and other parts of the south earlier this month. The separatists’ losses came nearly three weeks after the pro-independence Southern Transitional Council (STC) took …

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Appeal opens in case of hikers slain in Morocco

SALE, Morocco — The appeal opened on Wednesday in the case of 24 men convicted over the beheadings of two young Scandinavian women on a hiking trip in Morocco’s High Atlas mountains last December. The appeal at the court in Sale, near Rabat, comes six weeks after three Daesh supporters …

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Iran-US ties since Trump came to power

TEHRAN — Relations between Tehran and Washington have spiralled since US President Donald Trump came to power and promptly quit the international deal on Iran’s nuclear programme, reimposing sweeping sanctions on the country. Here is a recap. ‘Isolate’ Iran  In a landmark address to Middle Eastern leaders in Saudi Arabia …

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Russia, Turkey share ‘serious concerns’ over Syria fighting

MOSCOW — The leaders of Russia and Turkey said on Tuesday they shared deep concerns over fighting in northwestern Syria, with Ankara warning it would take the steps necessary to protect its troops there. After meeting for talks near Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan said they hoped to …

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Israeli aircraft strikes Gaza on allegation of ‘mortar fire’

GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories — Israel launched an air strike against Gaza’s Hamas rulers on Tuesday after the Israeli army alleged a mortar round was fired from the strip across the border. Witnesses in the coastal enclave told AFP that fire from an Israeli drone hit Hamas facilities east of …

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Warily, Saudi shops push boundaries on prayer-time shutdown

RIYADH — With burger patties sizzling over a hot grill, a Saudi eatery did the unthinkable as a muezzin’s call to prayer sent Muslim worshippers scrambling to lower their shutters: It stayed open. The scene, amid a sweeping reform drive, was a striking contrast to the days when religious police …

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Syria Kurds say fighters start pullback from Turkish border

QAMISHLI, Syria — The Kurdish authorities in northeast Syria said Tuesday their forces had started to withdraw from outposts along the Turkish border after a US-Turkish deal for a buffer zone there. They said work had begun Saturday on “the first practical steps — in the Ras Al Ain area …

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